Texas Businesses Fined After Violating OSHA COVID-19 Standards

Texas Businesses Fined After Violating OSHA COVID-19 Standards

24 Texas businesses faced more than $200,000 dollars in initial fines.

During the pandemic, lots of people have been working from home. Some companies, however, that still made their employees come in to work violated OSHA regulations. Even in some instances, OSHA fined those businesses after some employees died. According to an article, across the country, 484 businesses received OSHA violations related to COVID-19 totaling $6,334,827. 24 of those businesses are in Texas with fines amounting to $200,427.

“I think they really need to step back and think ask themselves the question, 'Am I providing a safe and healthy environment for my workforce?'” Christopher King, University of Texas at Austin professor, said.

The West Oaks Nursing Facility and Rehabilitation Center was found to have a lack of infectious disease controls at the facility cited by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. OSHA’s initial penalty for the facility was $11,567. Federal records show west oaks received a fine because an "employee was exposed to COVID-19. The employee later died from pneumonia caused by the COVID-19." According to the article, Maurice Dotson, a certified nursing assistant at West Oaks, died after getting COVID-19.

Luling Nursing Operations is another nursing home with a similar violation. OSHA records show two employees "were providing skilled nursing services to nursing home residents. They contracted the COVID-19. Employee #1 and Employee #2 later died from complications from the virus." That facility also faced an initial penalty of $11,567. Another facility in Luling – the Luling Care Center did not report an employee’s death within eight hours, shown by federal records. The business was also fined $11,567.

OSHA also fined Altman Specialty Plants, a wholesale nursery with an initial violation of $1,928. According to OSHA records, recording criteria was also violated.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Altman Plants has diligently followed the guidance and protocols from the CDC and OSHA to protect our employees and maintain the safety of our workplaces. Early in the COVID pandemic, Altman Plants received an OSHA citation for what was determined to be administrative paperwork issues involving listing employees who contracted COVID-19 on our OSHA 300 log. We made these changes immediately as requested by OSHA. We have continued to be extremely diligent in our approach to our work environment as it relates to employee safety.”

King says companies should make serious changes unless they want their businesses to tank.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

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